Imagine the elegant distinction of calmly reaching into your pocket to remove a hand-crafted pocket watch to tell the time. It’s an action that forces you to slow down, and while it won’t stop time, it may give you the impression you can at least master it.
The Pocket Plein Cuir watch by La Montre Hermès, from the “Exceptional Pieces” collection, boasts a rare Grand Feu enamel dial, a 750 white gold case, and the Manufacture Hermès H912 movement, all nestled within a colourful alligator jacket of excellently crafted leather, honouring the watchmaking and leather-making expertise practised at the Hermès ateliers.
Two skills borrowed from saddle-making are combined to make the exceptional leather sheath. First, the “plein cuir” or “full-grain leather” technique consists of superimposing several layers of leather to create a thickness of 6mm to smoothly encase the watch, including a sturdy layer of cowhide on either side that is in turn covered with a finely-cut piece of smooth, dyed alligator on its two faces.
The second technique takes place in the sewing workshop, where “through-seam stitching” begins with a crease made in the leather to indicate the position of each punch hole for the stitching. The leather is then hammered while moving a forklike tool exactly 2.5 mm from the edge, before the actual sewing stage which consists of pushing a thread through the entire thickness of the leather.
The model is finished by heat-smoothing (burnishing) the outer and inner edges before the leather is dyed and coated with beeswax for extra protection. All of these stages are masterfully hand-crafted by skilled artisans.
The 54mm diameter case of the Pocket Plein Cuir is complemented by a white gold bow. We read the hours and minutes on the Grand Feu enamel dial, where glass powder has been melted and fired at around 800°C, with white powder for the base and black for the Roman numerals, while through the transparent sapphire crystal case-back, we see the ‘sprinkling of Hs’ motif that adorns the mechanical self-winding calibre.
The alligator jacket of the Pocket Plein Cuir watch is available in three colours: burgundy, elegant grand sapphire blue, and can be acquired by special order only at Hermès boutiques. Priced at USD 42,000.
Photos Via Hermès